Since 2013, a unique law and deadline has existed for obtaining compensation for a car accident injury in Florida. The most important requirement to protect your right to personal injury protection (PIP) benefits is to seek medical attention within 14 days of an accident. The goal of the law was to decrease insurance rates and ensure that all injury victims have coverage for medical expenses. However, it has been a subject of debate among lawmakers since it was enacted. Additionally, one 2015 study reported that Florida is the worst place to get into a car accident, considering the financial impact on drivers here compared to the rest of the country.
This fall, some proposed that Florida's PIP law be tossed out, and other lawmakers suggest replacing it with another type of coverage. Despite these efforts, the 14 day rule still stands and will likely continue through 2016.
Take These 3 Steps To Protect Your Right To Compensation
With the continued interstate construction in Hillsborough County and Pinellas County, and almost daily reports of serious auto accidents on I-275, we want to remind Florida drivers what steps to take following a car accident to protect their right to compensation:
- Go to the emergency room within 14 days.
Visit the ER as soon as possible. At the very least, get treatment at an emergency room within two weeks of the accident. After the 14 days is up, you may forfeit your right to pursue personal injury compensation for medical treatment. We highly recommend visiting an ER initially, rather than a family physician or another doctor of your choice. To obtain the full amount of compensation available, your condition must be diagnosed as an "emergency medical condition."
- Closely follow your doctors' orders.
Do everything the ER doctor instructs you to do, and then closely follow the orders of any other doctor or specialist you visit. This includes any tests, restricted activities, physical therapy or other instructions.
- Contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
A knowledgeable and experienced personal injury lawyer will work to ensure that you collect all of the benefits you are entitled to for medical costs, as well as other damages such as wage loss, property damage, car rental costs and other out-of-pocket expenses. Even though you have paid for PIP coverage, your insurance company's primary goal is to pay out as little as possible. This is where your lawyer comes in.